Pulse: When Gravity Fails by John Freitas

Pulse: When Gravity Fails by John Freitas
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasyt
Length: Short Story (90 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

The Alpha Centauri star system begins to collapse and the resulting gravitational waves reach our planet, creating strange phenomena around the globe, leaving the people who are affected by them wondering what in the world is going on.

A scientist in an isolated observatory sees clues that tell him what is happening to the world may be bigger and more deadly than a few earthquakes and a few floating objects.

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There is a lot of intense suspense and drama packed into the 90 pages of the novella, Pulse: When Gravity Fails and it’s a wild ride. For fans of disaster movies like The Day After Tomorrow, which just happens to be one of my absolute favorites to rewatch, this book should appeal.

The format is basically taking each chapter to showcase a different person/situation and how they’re affected by the earth’s gravity not working like Sir Isaac Newton said it did. There’s the firefighter, the pilot, the child, and the scientist. Sean is the firefighter who provides the best emotional conflict; Michael, the pilot that crashed behind enemy lines and somehow has to survive and live to see another day, provides the action and suspense aspect of the conflict; and Holden is the child with the insight the adults ignore and his point of view gives readers a chance to look at the crisis in a magical, although still worrisome, way. As far as the scientist goes, the blurb gives him a much bigger role than he actually has in the book. Dr. Restrepo’s presence is extremely important as far as providing the cast and readers with the skinny as to what is actually happening. His role as the canary in the mine is reminiscent of Terry Rapson’s role in The Day After Tomorrow, but not as convincing or evolved. The plot definitely benefits from having someone of science back up the findings and gives credence to the announcement to the world that comes later.

I like how the book starts, like a movie. It’s an innocent preview of what is about to happen. It seems innocuous, certainly from the point of view of the kids but like all great disaster films, it’s only the beginning. And that’s what I found so enjoyable about this story, it reads like a movie and it was easy to envision the action in my head. Everything built from there.

I’d read a couple of reviews about this novella after I’d read it and someone mentioned editing issues. Honestly, I never saw any. I was so completely engrossed in the plot, the action surrounding the characters and the way things built and built, it kept me on the edge of my seat reading as fast as I could. Nothing bumped me out of the story, nothing undermined my enjoyment and I actually liked the formatting of the storytelling. The only thing I wasn’t a fan of was Dr. Restropo’s role; it was necessary but not developed enough to carry the weight of the responsibilities that his role was imbued with. It was cluttered with unnecessary details like the shiny nose.

The funniest scene and a true creative lark was the chocolate flatulence. I outright laughed at that and thought it comic genius. The emotional conflict between Sean and Jenny, Carter was the main thread that wove through the entire tale and it felt realistic to me. Love and all its messy complications, of loss and healing, trust and redemption are what gave this book heart and the reason to survive. The complicated romance situation was not the center of the story, the potential catastrophe was, but the romantic elements certainly gave readers a connection to the main characters.

I truly enjoyed reading Pulse: When Gravity Fails and give it a thumbs up for readers of science fiction disaster themes and of stories about people who survive against incredible odds. I would like to see this be turned into a movie, even if it only ever aired on the SyFy channel. It has the right elements to be an entertainment success.

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